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  • Writer's pictureEric Elkins

Ode: The Ajarski Khachapuri at House of Bread

I’m one of those weirdos who loves walking into House of Bread and immediately tasting everything on the menu before I even get to the counter. The big glass windows belie the thickness of the air inside, an immediate olfactory input of scorched bread, spices, and coffee. And the smell of the place doesn’t lie, because, with your first bite, you’ll recognize whatever you order in the air you’ve been breathing.

I’m partial to the Ajarski Khachapuri – an oblong boat of baked dough filled with cheese and a couple of soupy eggs. The combo of feta and mozz means it’s salty but not overly so, and the baked eggs are nestled in, the yolks like little islands of pure golden goodness. A gentle array of Armenian spices sprinkled over the top makes the pastry look like a satellite photo of an archipelago in some milky sea.

The crust itself is baked brown and crispy, splashes of burnt cheese mottling the edges, the far ends pinched into bow and stern.

The Ajarski is one of House of Bread’s “made to order” items, meaning you won’t want to sip your little cup of dank Armenian coffee too quickly or all you’ll have left is the grounds settled at the bottom by the time your food arrives. While you’re waiting, hop over to the sink near the restrooms and wash your hands, then grab a pile of napkins.

Because when your savory dish is placed on your table in its little wax paper-lined basket, it won’t come with silverware and you should resist the temptation to ask for a fork and knife. Instead, firmly tear off one of the pointy ends of your Ajarski and dip it right into the middle of a goopy egg yolk, smearing it across the sea of cheese before taking a bite.

I know, right?

Slowly make your way through the messy, drippy, tangy, savory bread boat, pulling and tearing the doughy parts, then getting into all of that meltiness and scooping it into your mouth, leaning way over the table to avoid a disaster.

Use your fingers to get into every last bite of cheese and egg and spice. And – yeah – lick those digits when you’re done. Put ‘em in your mouth.

Then make your way back to that hallway sink for another good wash.

When you leave, your clothes will smell like the entire House of Bread menu and you won’t mind a bit.

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Ruth Elkins
Ruth Elkins
Apr 10

I’m. Drooling…

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